CriticalDance Forum

En Pointe
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Author:  meg [ Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  En Pointe

Happy New Year everyone!

I'm hoping someone could advise me.
I'm twenty-two and have recently had my first lesson en pointe. Only a short portion of the class was done wearing pointe shoes and all work in them was completed at the barre ("breaking them in").
I understand that work en pointe can be uncomfortable at first but I found the whole experience very painful.
My shoes were professionally fitted and I wore "ouch pouches" (which I also wore whilst having them fitted) because my feet blister and bruise easily.
I'm no whimp when it comes to pain (I have a figure skating background and so am used to scrapes, thuds and knocks) but my toes and tops of my feet were literally purple with brusing for several days after the lesson.
I've always had very sensitive feet so I anticipated some discomfort but surely this isn't normal?
I've been over and over my technique with my teacher who says she can't see that I've done anything wrong and can't understand why my feet have reacted so badly.

Could anyone please advise me?

Author:  Gina Ness [ Sun Jan 01, 2006 1:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

Welcome, meg, and Happy New Year! Well, it certainly sounds as though you have done everything properly to begin your study of pointe technique. Having your shoes fitted by an experienced person is a real plus. And, your teacher is giving you the appropriate first pointe the barre. I don't think it is unusual to have soreness of your toes after your very first pointe lessons, even with "ouch pouches". It definitely takes some time for your feet and toes to become accustomed to wearing pointe shoes. You might try to "soften" the box a little bit by working it with your hands or gently stepping on the box with your heel. This will not alter the shoe's ability to enable your foot to dance on pointe. In addition to pointe work at the barre, I find it helpful for my beginning students to just "walk" around the room on pointe, holding lightly onto the barre for added support. You might try foot "contrast baths" for your feet after your classes...15 minutes warm water followed by 4 minutes ice cold water -- twice. This helps with inflamation and speeds circulation for healing. I did this when my feet were sore (yes, even professionals have sore feet sometimes!) and it really helped a LOT...Good luck, hang in there, and let us know how it goes...

Author:  Joanne [ Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:27 am ]
Post subject: 

Another thought - I found that if my toe nails were too long or at the other end of the spectrum I had cut them that day, that my feet quiet often hurt more than if they were at the right length i.e i had cut them a day or two before.

It doesn't sound like this is what is happening to you but it is something to bear in mind.

Author:  Frank N. [ Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Let me follow up on Gina Ness's suggestion about softening the box. When my daughter went on pointe, it was her teacher who softened the box. Heel, Hammer, Door-Jamb. Whatever implement is used, it's often too traumatic for the person who paid for the shoes. Thus, your teacher or fitter may be more appropriately aggressive with the shoes than you would be.
As you advance, softening the box will all become natural, and adapted to the strength of your feet.

Best wishes.
Frank N.

Author:  Gina Ness [ Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hello and welcome, Frank N! I used the door jamb method myself sometimes... :wink: Thank you for input and hope to hear more from you...Gina

Author:  meg [ Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you very much for your advice everyone.
I've since had another lesson featuring pointe work and although it was still quite uncomfortable, I do feel that the shoes offered more "support" than last time.
Funnily enough Frank, my teacher advised me to spend christmas gently hammering the box of my shoes and it seems to have helped.
They also seem much more "moulded" to my feet (partly I think because I'm gradually adjusting to the sensation of having a different type of shoe).
Joanne, that's not something I'd ever really considered. Obviously toenails too long spell trouble but I had cut them the day before - in retrospect that was perhaps partly the culprit for some of the discomfort.
Gina, I also tried the warm and cold treatment and it's worked very well so far - so thank you for that.


Author:  Joanne [ Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:52 am ]
Post subject: 


I glad that we all could be some help and that the problem seems to easing.

I hope it continues to do so and that you have an enlighetning time en pointe.

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:34 am ]
Post subject: 

Meg, just to reiterate -- feet take some time to get used to pointe shoes. My method used to be to work on pointe 5 - 10 minutes every day (stop before any pain begins). This will keep your feet in shape.

Author:  Joanne [ Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:34 am ]
Post subject: 


Just make sure that any practice you do is in front of a teacher. As you are a beginner you need to make sure constantly that you are applying correct technique.

Have fun!

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